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Training Program Course Requirements

In addition to their graduate option requirements, trainees in the Biotechnology Leadership Pre-doctoral Training Program must take 4 courses (RCR plus one from each group below). Individual course requirements (except the RCR) may be waived (at the discretion of the BLP Director) if the trainee can provide transcripts and syllabi showing they have satisfactorily completed an equivalent course. 

Note: links to several courses are provided for convenience, but they are often changed. If they do not work, please refer to the most current Caltech catalog where you can look them up by course number. 

1.  ACM100ab - Introductory Methods of Applied Mathematics (24 units)

First quarter: complex analysis: analyticity, Laurent series, singularities, branch cuts, contour integration, residue calculus. Second quarter: ordinary differential equations. Linear initial value problems: Laplace transforms, series solutions. Linear boundary value problems: eigenvalue problems, Fourier series, Sturm-Liouville theory, eigenfunction expansions, the Fredholm alternative, Green’s functions, nonlinear equations, stability theory, Lyapunov functions, numerical methods.


BE/Bi 103 - Data Analysis in the Biological Sciences (9 units)

Prerequisites: CS 1 or equivalent; Bi 1, Bi 1x, Bi 8, or equivalent, or instructor’s permission. This course covers a basic set of tools needed to analyze quantitative data in biological systems, both natural and engineered. Students will analyze real data in class and in homework. PyTHON will be used as the programming language of instruction. Topics will include regression, parameter estimation, outlier detection and correction, error estimation, image processing and quantifcation, denoising, hypothesis testing, and data display and presentation. Instructor: Bois. Offered first term only.


Bi/CNS/NB 195 - Mathematics in Biology (9 units) 

Prerequisites: Multi-variable calculus. This course develops the mathematical methods needed for a quantitative understanding of biological phenomena, including data analysis, formulation of simple models, and the framing of quantitative questions. Topics include: probability and stochastic processes, linear algebra and transforms, dynamical systems, scientific programming. Instructor: Meister. Given in alternate years; offered first term 2015–16.

2.  Bi110 - Introduction to Biochemistry (12 units)

Lectures and recitation introducing the molecular basis of life processes, with emphasis on the structure and function of proteins. Topics will include the derivation of protein structure from the information inherent in a genome, biological catalysis, the intermediary metabolism that provides energy to an organism, and the use of DNA manipulations, cloning, and expression of proteins in foreign hosts to study protein structure and function. This requirement will be waived upon request for trainees who have completed any course for which Bi110 is a pre-requisite.


MedE101 - Introduction to Clinical Physiology and Pathophysiology for Engineers (9 units)

The goal of this course is to introduce engineering scientists to the classical physiological systems and give real clinical medicine relevance to the content. Following the first week of introductory lectures on the functional organization of the human body and basic cell function, a series of weekly lectures will review practical human physiology and pathophysiology: (cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, renal, gastrointestinal, nervous system, immunology, and special topics).

3.  Bi252 - Responsible Conduct of Research (4 units)

This lecture and discussion course covers relevant aspects of the responsible conduct of biomedical and biological research. Topics include guidelines and regulations, ethical and moral issues, research misconduct, data management and analysis, research with animal or human subjects, publication, conflicts of interest, mentoring, and professional advancement. This course is required of all trainees supported on the NIH training grants in cellular and molecular biology and neuroscience, and is recommended for other graduate students in labs in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering labs. Undergraduate students require advance instructor’s permission. Graded pass/fail.

4.  E102a - Scientific and Technology Entrepreneurship (9 units)

This accelerated introductory course is designed for both advanced undergraduates (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) as well as graduate students who are interested in starting companies or joining startups right out of school or later in their careers. The course introduces students to the conceptual frameworks, the analytical approaches, the personal understanding and skills, and the actions required to launch a successful technology-based company. Several teaching and learning techniques are used in the course. The primary technique is the classroom discussion by students of real case situations of technology ventures facing a variety of challenges at various stages of their development. Also, students will have the opportunity to practice applying what they are learning during the course to real technologies and how those technologies might be commercialized in new products at startup ventures. 


E102b - Entrepreneurial Development (9 units)

Students will work with a team to assess the commercial viability of a Caltech technology of your choosing. You will learn how to protect intellectual property, determine market feasibility, create a business model, write a financial plan, obtain capital, and how to gain the most through outsourcing and partnerships. Each team will be matched with experienced mentors from industry who have ‘been there and done that.’ The course will hone your presentation skills, give you experience working with teams, exercise your ingenuity, and possibly result in a new company! The final project will be a well-reasoned business plan. The quality of the business plans will be decided in a final competition, with Angel Investors and VCs as judges. Graded pass/fail. Please see the syllabus for more information.


E103 - Management of Technology (9 units)

Students considering working in companies learn how rapidly evolving technologies are harnessed to produce useful products and successful businesses. Student teams work through Harvard Business School Case Studies drawn from a variety of fields, supplemented by lectures from invited business leaders to elucidate key issues. Final team projects are either: (a) an assessment of a technology or field and projection of future developments or (b) an innovative capabilities audit of a technology-focused company. Please see the syllabus for more information.



Caltech Library Workshop - "Patents"
Hannah Dvorak Carbone, from the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships, presents a review of the patenting process, including changes introduced by the America Invents Act of 2013. This is followed by a Caltech Librarian presenting a brief overview of patent searching, locating English language patent equivalents, legal status issues, and current awareness techniques. This class is offered periodically and is typically held in Sherman Fairchild Library 328 (Multimedia Conference Room). Hannah also gives a guest lecture each year in Bi252 (Responsible Conduct of Research) that covers aspects of the patenting process.

Managing Science in the Biotech Industry: An Intensive Course for Students and Postdocs

A week-long course offered by The American Society for Cell Biology and Keck Graduate Institute. The course introduces PhD scientists to the competencies they need to thrive in industry and exposes them to the culture and infrastructure of life sciences companies through MBA-style case-based teaching, professional development sessions, and a team-based project. Learn about the process through which academic science is commercialized, and gain invaluable insight into the way industry views scientific research. Learn about careers for scientists in industry, and how to best leverage your analytical PhD skill set.